25 Nov 2019 - Thorsten
Folk-Black-Metal | AOP Records | Release date: 25 Nov 2019
Swedish band Ofdrkkja releases an atmospherically dense Blackened-Folk-Metal that reminds one of why Agalloch or Wolves In The Throne Room are so great.
In a world where the divide between “natural” and “artificial” becomes bigger and bigger by the day there is a longing for something original, something that transports us to the historical roots of our old self, the original state of man. Atmospheric black metal has a quality that is able to give us that feeling, think of bands like Agalloch or WITTR because they combine a kind of archaic idea with wild and overflowing musicality.
Ofdrykkja from Sweden is a three-piece (accompanied on this record by another multi-instrumentalist and singer Miranda Samuelson, a wonderfully ethereal voice) that is about to release their next full-length at the end of November through AOP Records. The three musicians who all wonderfully fit the typical description of a Norseman all play multiple instruments and also perform vocal duties.
Interestingly, they are at their best, when they rely solely on their knack for acoustic elements outside all the black metal parts – also because most of that black-ness is shown in the vocals. Their rendition of “Herr Mannelig”, an old Swedish traditional about a troll woman who wants to be married by a human partially in order to gain an immortal soul, is wonderful and does justice to the sad content by only accompanying Miranda on an acoustic guitar and adding a few, minute electronic spaces. This leads to another aspect of this record, the lyrics are partially in English (and sometimes impressively clear-phrased) and partially in Swedish, with the latter being a bit more accessible, maybe also due to its inaccessibility and strangeness. In some of these moments, Ofdrykkja sound like a Swedish version of Wardruna.
Unlike Wardruna they give us some neck-breaking metal moments but those are always based on acoustic guitar and other medieval instruments like a lyre. Interestingly the electronic bits and blobs do not sound out of place but blend in with the rest of the instrumentation, also because they sometimes sound like field recordings (for example, the electronics in “Wither” resembling the drops of water inside an enormous underground cavern).
However, it must be noted, that sometimes some parts of the songs are not well-produced so that most of it either is dominated too strongly by the voices or everything sounds a bit muted. Let’s guess that are stronger when witnessed live being able to transport the audience to a former state of human existence, more rooted and primal and yet with a more coherent form of being one with all that lives.